Photo of the Day: Exciting New Encounters at Aga Khan Park at Peak of Summer: The Honey Bees, the Russian Sage, the Majestic Hawk, and the Beautiful Hibiscus, and a Snapping Turtle at Evergreen Brick Works
By NURIN AND MALIK MERCHANT
“Wow!” my dad and I would both exclaim as we visited parks, gardens and trails that he frequents in Toronto on a regular basis. I did not imagine that Toronto, Canada’s largest city, would have so much to offer in terms of nature all around the city. For example, within a radius of only 5-7 kms from the Aga Khan Park, lie Edwards Gardens with two or three adjoining parks, the East and West Don Trail, and the Evergreen Brick Works. We took hundreds of beautiful photos of animals, birds, insects and flowers. The focus in this post is going to be on the Aga Khan Park.
I urge you to visit some of the ones that are listed here as well as the parks that may be closer to your home; please make the most of the remaining 6 weeks of summer, before we see the start of another beautiful season, autumn, with its spectacular foliage. If time is of the essence then for a truly rich and incredible as well as unforgettable experience please visit Evergreen Brick Works on 550 Bayview Avenue for a few hours. We saw snapping turtles, frogs and plenty of other animals and birds. I liked it so much, I went back again and the second day was even better! I am actually going to throw in a couple of pictures that we took at the Brick Works after the Aga Khan Park photos — a comprehensive photo essay of Toronto’s parks and gardens that I visited during a recent weekend will appear later in August.
BEES, RUSSIAN SAGE, BUTTERFILES AND A PEST – THE JAPANESE BEETLE – AT AGA KHAN PARK
The purple beds of flowers in front and around the side of the Ismaili Jamatkhana are mostly Russian Sages but there are quite a few lavenders. The fragrance of the sage attracts thousands of bees on a sunny day. Some visitors to the park rub their fingers on the Russian Sage, and then say a satisfied “Ahh” as they bring their palms to their faces. One insect I wasn’t happy to see was the invasive Japanese beetle which feeds on a lot of plants in North America and destroys them. It was feeding on a Russian Sage during my visit to the Aga Khan Park.
Bee in the Qur’an
And thy Lord inspired the bee, saying: Choose thou habitations in the hills and in the trees and in that which they thatch; Then eat of all fruits, and follow the ways of thy Lord, made smooth (for thee). There cometh forth from their bellies a drink divers of hues, wherein is healing for mankind. Lo! herein is indeed a portent for people who reflect. — Sura An-Nahl (The Bee), 16:68-69, from translation by A. J. Arberry
THE MAJESTIC HAWK AT AGA KHAN PARK
Remarkably, for the first time ever in his life, Malik had a very close encounter with a preying bird, the hawk, on the Aga Khan grounds behind the Ismaili Centre. It was perched on the flat top of a light or electrical pole. What was the hawk up to? Well, trapped underneath its big claws was a mouse. And, for my dad, taking pictures of the hawk digging into its prey was not a pleasant sight. But look this is nature where everything is interdependent for survival.
The hawk then moved from tree to tree behind the Ismaili Centre, and accorded my dad an hour or so of photo opportunity.
Birds in the Qur’an
Hast thou not seen how that whatsoever is in the heavens and in the earth extols God, and the birds spreading their wings? Each — He knows its prayer and its extolling; and God knows the things they do. — Surat Al-Nur (The Light), 24:41, from translation by A. J. Arberry
AGA KHAN PARK AND THE BEAUTY OF NATURE
Tree, Fruits and Flowers in the Qur’an
Let Man consider his nourishment. We poured out the rains abundantly, then We split the earth in fissures and therein made the grains to grow and vines, and reeds, and olives, and palms, and dense-tree’d gardens, and fruits, and pastures, an enjoyment for you and your flocks. — Sura Abasa (He Frowned), 80:24-32, from translation by A. J. Arberry
Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, on Nature
The Qur’an refers very often to nature as a reflection of Allah’s power of creation, and it says, look at the mountains, look at the rivers, look at the trees, look at the flowers, as evidence of Allah’s love for the people whom He has created. Today, I look at this environment, and I say to you, I believe Allah is smiling upon you, and may His smile always be upon you. – Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, Rushan, Badakhshan, May 27, 1995.
SNAPPING TURTLE AT EVERGREEN BRICK WORKS, AN EGRET AND A SELFIE
Date posted: August 8, 2021.
Last updated: August 9, 2021 (caption updates and more photos added)
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